How to prepare a lynchingMarch 21, 2012
The Guardian, a newspaper which in former times tried to appear as “liberal,” whatever that means, published supposedly authentic private emails of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma, which were intercepted by hackers.
The Guardian admits, that it had been impossible to verify whether all the messages are genuine, but nevertheless writes, that the emails paint a damning picture and that it were especially the small details, which were so damning: “…the desperate search for a Harry Potter DVD, the concern over getting hold of a new chocolate fondue set, or swapping details with friends of crystal-encrusted designer shoes costing nearly 4,000 pounds.” (What is omitted here is the fact, that Asma al-Assad later wrote: “I actually LOVE them!!! they’re really cool. But I don’t think they’re going 2 b useful any time soon unfortunately…”)
Asma’s thoughts reportedly also had turned to a 2,650 pound vase she wanted and she asked a friend in London to look if this vase would be available at Harrods.
The family of Qatar’s emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, together with the USA the main adversary of Syria, will not need to ask such questions, Qatar owns Harrods. Not only that, the emirate has shares in LVMH, Le Tanneur & Cie, and other luxury good companies. It makes sense to own such companies, because the emir has not only one, but three wife’s, and if they go on a shopping spree, it could become costly.
Asma al-Assad will not break the bank because shopping will become more and more difficult for President al-Assad’s family. Western countries have imposed stringent sanctions which prohibit senior members of the Syrian government to acquire any goods. London’s Daily Telegraph quoted a senior lawyer as saying Asma al-Assad could face jail time, if she is found to have purchased items from British luxury department’s store Harrods.
This text is not condoning luxury spending, and politicians, who live a humble and modest life in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi (are there any?) are undoubtedly more sympathetic and prudent, and especially more suitable as role models.
But the Al-Assad’s lifestyle, if they indeed have bought luxury items, would still not be in any way comparable with the luxury that the Saudi princes and their peers from the adjacent Gulf monarchies enjoy. Many of them are billionaires, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal for instance is worth 20 billion US$.
Western media will not write about the spending of the Gulf aristocracy, because they are the good guys, they are paying the FSA (Free Syrian Army) militias and are shipping the weapons to Turkey and Jordan. They are working for the liberation of Syria from the socialist Baathists and are upholding the banner of democracy and freedom.
The Al-Assad’s are not billionaires, that is for sure! They don’t own a super yacht or their private island, they don’t own palaces and estates. But as the British tabloid Daily Mail wrote: “it is the small details that are so damning.”
Like looking for a Harry Potter DVD.
The frenzy about this private emails in some places even becomes comical, for instance, when Dr. Bashar al-Assad because of his preference for Apple products is called an “Apple fanboy”. What a relieve for all the Windows and Linux user, who day in and day out have to cope with an inferior and troublesome operating system, seeing themselves suddenly in the moral high ground with the warm and fuzzy feeling that they at least use the political correct system and not the suspect OSX (Lion or Snow Leopard or whatever). Wasn’t Steve Jobs a Buddhist and vegetarian after all?
On a side note: Working conditions at Foxconn and an “Apple myth” that has turned into a celebration of consumer culture and modern day vanity are troubling enough, while in the bigger context of things the al-Assad’s use of Apple products is completely irrelevant.
The remarkable Asma al-Assad
Asma al-Assad is the British-born first lady of Syria. She is the daughter of a Harley Street cardiologist, her mother is a diplomat. Asma is a Sunni Muslim and her father hails from Homs. After studying computer science and French literature at King’s College, London, she was working as a banker at JP Morgan in the 90s when she started secretly dating Bashar al-Assad. She moved to Syria and married him in 2000 after he assumed the Syrian Presidency. They have three children.
Asma is one of the few extraordinary women who have achieved something until now unheard of in modern Arab history: She emerged from the shadows and became a public figure beside her husband. She is credited with supporting progressive positions on women’s rights and education, and liberalizing the Syrian economy.
A Vogue profile described here “as a lissome 36-year-old who ran a “wildly democratic” household — her three young kids could outvote their parents (including the president) on what furnishings to buy and where in the house to put them. The Syrian first lady came across as very much the young professional — and as the young mother trying to find a sane balance among all the demands on her time and energy.”
Asma has continued to stand by her husband throughout the turmoil in her country and the increasing Western pressure on the Syrian government. According to one of the leaked emails which was sent in late December she wrote to her husband: “If we are strong together, we will overcome this together … I love you….”
In this propaganda war, getting dirtier, more hateful, and more over the top every day and reaching now a point where the term mud slinging is not a sufficient description anymore, intercepting private emails and spiking them with some juicy details is only one of the many tools to slam and defame the Syrian Presidential family.
New web sides and blogs and Facebook groups and Twitter accounts, mocking, parodying, caricaturing the al-Assad’s, pop up every day. It seems that a few thousand bloggers and web designers are busy flooding the internet with anti Assad propaganda.
I don’t include web addresses here, because these sides come and go, I only was intrigued by http://www.asmaalassad.com/ with the text:
asma al assad – the first lady of syria
Purchased by Israeli domain company
The impersonations and the mockeries are sometimes ludicrous, sometimes even funny, but unfortunately this media campaign of defamation and slander against the al-Assad family is nothing to joke about, this is not anymore only a character assassination, this is the preparation for a big showdown, a showdown like in a Hollywood movie, scripted to end with the dramatic and at the same time festive and jubilant spectacle of a lynching.
In one article Asma al-Assad was compared with Marie Antoinette (let them eat cake) and that makes very clear where this media campaign of denunciation and demonization goes.
Marie Antoinette was the wife of French King Louis XVI, and she was like her husband guillotined in 1793. There is no record of the words “let them eat cake” ever having been uttered by her and historians mostly agree that her trial was unfair and the accusations against her (including lesbianism, incest with her son, and orgiastic excesses) were humiliating and unfounded.
One has not to reach so far into the past to find prominent examples of carefully prepared murders and lynchings. There are many political leaders in recent years who were depicted as villains and deeply amoral and evil characters, who’s terrible end was welcomed as a relief and collective positive achievement by everybody who had bought into the victors propaganda.
A short and selective modern history of disposed political leaders:
In 1961, Patrice Lumumba, the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, was deposed in a coup, orchestrated by the CIA and Belgian agents. He was beaten, tortured, and finally executed by a firing squad.
In September 1973, Chiles President Dr. Salvador Allende (a medical doctor like Dr. Bashar al-Assad) died when General Augusto Pinochet seized power in a CIA sponsored coup.
In Romania, public unrest over food shortages started in early December 1989 and soon swelled into a mass protest. President Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown in a coup d’etat by military and communist party officials and on Christmas Day he and his wife Elena were executed by a firing squad. Their hasty and particularly gruesome execution fueled popular views that they were silenced to conceal the misdeeds of others.
Afghanistan’s President Dr. Mohammad Najibullah (a medical doctor like Dr. Bashar al-Assad) was brutally killed when the Taliban (a creation of ISI and CIA) took Kabul in 1996. He was first castrated and then dragged to death behind a truck in the streets. His blood-soaked body was hanged from a traffic light post.
The fact, that he tried to modernize Afghans society and especially improve women’s plight, did not save him. The fact, that he held local elections in 1987 and introduced a law, permitting the formation of other political parties, did not save him. The announcement that he was prepared to share power with representatives of opposition groups in the event of a coalition government did not save him.
After the USA invaded Iraq in 2003 and disposed the socialist Baath regime, Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein was captured in December 2003 and hanged three years later.
After a seven month long bombing campaign by NATO Libya’s leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed in October 2011. Evidence suggests that he was tortured and sodomized before shot to death.
Asma al-Assad and her husband Dr. Bashar al-Assad better should fight like lions and make the most intelligent and wise decisions to avoid a similar fate!